‘Extreme climate disruption’ saves Thai cave boys
United Nations (UN) said that thundershowers that have been forecast in northern Thailand luckily did not materialize, easing the extraordinary rescue of a boys’ football team and their coach, who spent over two weeks trapped in a cave complex there.
Clare Nullis, spokesperson for the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), was speaking in Geneva amid reports indicating that all 12 boys and their coach had been freed in a daring rescue operation by a team of specialist divers.
“It is the start of the monsoon season in Thailand,” she said. “I’ve been looking at the weather forecast there for Chiang-Rai, for the region, every day for the past week. Every day it has consistently shown the risk of thundershowers; now they haven’t, fortunately, materialized.”
Commenting on several other extreme weather events around the world, Nullis noted that in Japan, flash floods across the country had claimed at least 150 lives, according to authorities, and that the toll “is likely to rise” in coming days.
The situation ‘is significant given Japan’s high level of preparedness against natural catastrophes, the WMO spokesperson said, noting that around 10,000 houses have been inundated or destroyed by the worst flooding in decades.
“Japan is one of the best prepared countries in the world when it comes to disaster risk reduction, disaster response — they are supremely well prepared,” said Nullis. “So, the magnitude of the casualties, of the destruction we are seeing now, really is an indication of just how big and how extreme this was and how heavy the rainfall was in such a short period of time.”